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This page serves as a central resource to find key information on important topics such as infection prevention, implant related complications, perioperative planning, and medical management. The content is split into pediatric and adult teams, and includes such tools as checklists, guidelines, key publications, videos, and webinars.


Pediatric and Adult

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Indications and Classification

  • Adams AJ, Refakis CA, Flynn JM, Pahys JM, Betz RR, Bastrom TP, Samdani AF, Brusalis CM, Sponseller PD, Cahill PJ. Surgeon and Caregiver Agreement on the Goals and Indications for Scoliosis Surgery in Children With Cerebral Palsy.  Spine Deform. 2019 Mar;7(2):304-311. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2018.07.004.
    • 126 surgeon/caregiver pairs were surveyed to rank surgical indications in neuromuscular scoliosis. The greatest area of agreement was in improving sitting balance(69%) followed by to prevent pulmonary compromise and pain improvement.
  • Lenke LG, Betz RR, Harms J, Bridwell KH, Clements DH, Lowe TG, Blanke K. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: a new classification to determine extent of spinal arthrodesis. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2001 Aug;83(8):1169-81.
    • The lack of a reliable, universally acceptable system for classification of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis made comparisons between various types of operative treatment an impossible task.  This new two-dimensional classification of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, as tested by two groups of surgeons, was shown to be much more reliable than the King system
  • Watanabe K, Lenke LG, Matsumoto M, Harimaya K, Kim YJ, Hensley M, Stobbs G, Toyama Y, Chiba K. A novel pedicle channel classification describing osseous anatomy: how many thoracic scoliotic pedicles have cancellous channels?  Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010 Sep 15;35(20):1836-42. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181d3cfde.PMID: 20802397
    • This study aimed to quantify pedicles in 53 consecutive scoliosis patients according to the pedicle morphology.  Pedicles that had a large cancellous channel were labelled as Type A, those with small cancellous channels were Type B, the all “cortical channel” was labelled a Type C, and a Type D pedicle was when the pedicle probe could not locate a channel and hence this was described as a “slit/absent channel”.
  • Weinstein SL, Dolan LA, Spratt KF, Peterson KK, Spoonamore MJ, Ponseti IV. Health and function of patients with untreated idiopathic scoliosis: a 50-year natural history study. JAMA. 2003 Feb 5;289(5):559-67. doi: 10.1001/jama.289.5.559.PMID: 12578488
    • Prospective natural history study of 117 untreated patient at 50-year follow-up, Cwith 62 age- and sex-matched volunteers. An increased risk of shortness of breath was also associated with the combination of a Cobb angle greater than 80 degrees and a thoracic ape. S-six (61%) of 109 patients reported chronic back pain compared with 22 (35%) of 62 controls
  • Williams BA, Matsumoto H, McCalla DJ, Akbarnia BA, Blakemore LC, Betz RR, Flynn JM, Johnston CE, McCarthy RE, Roye DP Jr, Skaggs DL, Smith JT, Snyder BD, Sponseller PD, Sturm PF, Thompson GH, Yazici M, Vitale MG. Development and initial validation of the Classification of Early-Onset Scoliosis (C-EOS). J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2014 Aug 20;96(16):1359-67. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.M.00253.

Preoperative Optimization and Risk Assessment

  • Boachie-Adjei O, Yagi M, Sacramento-Dominguez C, Akoto H, Cunningham ME, Gupta M, Hess WF, Lonner BS, Ayamga J, Papadopoulos EC, Sanchez-Perez-Grueso F, Pelise F, Paonessa KJ, Kim HJ; FOCOS Spine Research Group. Surgical Risk Stratification Based on Preoperative Risk Factors in Severe Pediatric Spinal Deformity Surgery.  Spine Deform. 2014 Sep;2(5):340-349. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2014.05.004. Epub 2014 Aug 27.PMID: 27927331
    • Retrospective review of consecutive pediatric spine deformity surgeries (n=145) to create a surgical risk classification.  Five levels of risk stratification were established based on curve magnitude, etiology, ASA grade, number of fusion levels, preoperative neurologic status, BMI, and type of osteotomies.  No single parameters predicted postoperative complications. However, a higher-level score in the classification trended toward increased intraoperative neuromonitoring change and postoperative neurologic risk.
  • Luhmann SJ, Smith JC. Preoperative MRSA Screening in Pediatric Spine Surgery: A Helpful Tool or a Waste of Time and Money?  Spine Deform. 2016 Jul;4(4):272-276. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2015.12.006. Epub 2016 Jun 16.
    • Retrospective review from single surgeon spine database (n=339) to assess usefulness of preoperative nasal swab screening for Staphylococcus aureus in pediatric spine surgery patients.  MRSA was positive in 6% of patients and MSSA was positive in 16% of patients.  In 6.5% of patients, antibiotic resistance to cefazolin or clindamycin was identified.  Authors concluded that S. aureus preoperative nasal swab permitted adjustment of perioperative antibiotics in up to 6.5% of patients.
  • Luhmann SJ, Furdock R. Preoperative Variables Associated With Respiratory Complications After Pediatric Neuromuscular Spine Deformity Surgery. Spine Deform. 2019 Jan;7(1):107-111. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2018.05.005.
    • Retrospective review from a single surgeon database (n=111) to correlate preoperative variables with the risk of respiratory complications in neuromuscular spine deformity.  It showed that any history of pneumonia and presence of a gastrotomy tube correlated with an increased risk of postoperative respiratory complications with both univariate and multivariate analyses.  Univariate analysis of low serum transferrin and presence of a tracheostomy were suggestive of increased postoperative respiratory complications.
  • Matsumoto H, Campbell M, Minkara A, Roye DP, Garg S, Johnston C, Samdani A, Smith J, Sponseller P, Sturm PF, Vitale M; Children’s Spine Study Group; Growing Spine Study Group.
    Paper #45: Development of a Risk Severity Score (RSS) Predicting Surgical Site Infection in Early Onset Scoliosis: Identifying High-Risk Patients. Spine Deform. 2017 Nov;5(6):464-465. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2017.09.048.PMID: 31997165
    • Multicenter retrospective cohort study of early onset scoliosis patients (n=1,168) undergoing spine deformity surgery.  A Risk Severity Score was developed to quantify the risk for surgical site infection.  The model predicted 3.3% probability of SSI in patients with no risk factors and 68.4% probably in patients with myelomeningocele, GI, endocrine, and pulmonary comorbidities, developmental delay, urinary incontinence, and VP shunt. 
  • Mistovich RJ, Jacobs LJ, Campbell RM, Spiegel DA, Flynn JM, Baldwin KD. Infection Control in Pediatric Spinal Deformity Surgery: A Systematic and Critical Analysis Review. JBJS Rev. 2017 May;5(5):e3. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.RVW.16.00071.
    • Review article.  The authors reviewed 167 studies related to risk factors and interventions for reducing surgical site infections in pediatric spine deformity surgery.  Articles were stratified by diagnosis type (AIS, EOS, neuromuscular) and level of evidence.  Preventative strategy topics included use of intrawound antibiotics, preparation and irrigation, dressings, intravenous antibiotics, wound closure, implants, drains, bone graft, dual attending surgery, and pelvic fixation.  Modifiable risk factors reviewed consisted of obesity, hypothermia, duration of surgery, incontinence, and malnutrition.
  • Miyanji F, Slobogean GP, Samdani AF, Betz RR, Reilly CW, Slobogean BL, Newton PO. Is larger scoliosis curve magnitude associated with increased perioperative health-care resource utilization?: a multicenter analysis of 325 adolescent idiopathic scoliosis curves. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2012 May 2;94(9):809-13. doi:10.2106/JBJS.J.01682.PMID: 22552670
    • 325 patients from a multicentre, surgical AIS database were analyzed and the authors found that larger curves were associated with increased utilization of perioperative health-care resources, namely OR time (significant increase), greater number of levels fused, and for every 10 degree increase in curve size, there was a 1.5 times higher odds of receiving a blood transfusion.
  • O'Brien MF, Lenke LG, Bridwell KH, Blanke K, Baldus C.  Preoperative spinal canal investigation in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis curves > or = 70 degrees.  Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 1994 Jul 15;19(14):1606-10.  doi: 10.1097/00007632-199407001-00009.
    • Prospective study of AIS patients (n=33) with curve > 70 degrees to assess for presence of spinal cord anomalies.  CT scan (n=3) or MRI (n=30) showed no neurologic abnormalities in any patients, and all patients were treated surgically without any neurologic sequelae.  Authors concluded preoperative investigation of the neural axis is not mandatory for large, typical AIS curves.
  • Sedra F, Shafafy R, Sadek AR, Aftab S, Montgomery A, Nadarajah R. Perioperative Optimization of Patients With Neuromuscular Disorders Undergoing Scoliosis Corrective Surgery: A Multidisciplinary Team Approach.  Global Spine J. 2021 Mar;11(2):240-248. doi: 10.1177/2192568220901692. Epub 2020 Feb 13.
    • Review article.  Describes a multidisciplinary approach to optimize patients with neuromuscular disease undergoing scoliosis surgery as it relates to pulmonary, gastrointestinal, nutritional, cardiac, genitourinary, and wound complications, blood loss during surgery, and neurologic injury. 
  • White KK, Bompadre V, Krengel WF, Redding GJ; Pediatric Spine Study Group. Low Preoperative Lung Functions in Children With Early Onset Scoliosis Predict Postoperative Length of Stay.  J Pediatr Orthop. 2021 Apr 1;41(4):e316-e320
    • Prospective data collection from a multicenter registry.  Evaluated preoperative lung function studies in Children with EOS (n=525) to correlate with length of hospital stay following growth friendly or definitive spine fusion surgeries.  Only preoperative FVC < 50% predicted was associated with increased risk of postoperative length of stay > 7 days.

Pre-operative Planning and Level Selection

  • Baghdadi S, Cahill P, Anari J, Flynn JM, Upasani V, Bachmann K, Jain A, Baldwin K; Harms Study Group. Evidence Behind Upper Instrumented Vertebra Selection in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: A Systematic and Critical Analysis Review. JBJS Rev. 2021 Sep 9;9(9). doi: 10.2106/JBJS.RVW.20.00255.
    • The authors conducted a systematic review to appraise various recommendations with regards to Upper Instrumented Vertebra (UIV) selection in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Current guidelines for selection of UIV is still mostly inconclusive with mixed/ low-level evidence.
  • Beauchamp EC, Lenke LG, Cerpa M, Newton PO, Kelly MP, Blanke KM; Harms Study Group Investigators. Selecting the "Touched Vertebra" as the Lowest Instrumented Vertebra in Patients with Lenke Type-1 and 2 Curves: Radiographic Results After a Minimum 5-Year Follow-up. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2020 Nov 18;102(22):1966-1973.  doi: 10.2106/JBJS.19.01485.PMID: 32804885
    • The authors reviewed a multicenter database and analyzed the data of 299 Lenke 1 and 2 patients (minimum follow-up of 5 years. The authors recommended fusion to the ‘Touched Vertebra” (TV) for Lenke 1 and 2 curves. Patients with ‘A’ Lumbar Modifier who had fusion cephalad to the TV were at higher risk of Lower Instrumented Vertebra (LIV) translation with risk of poorer long term outcome.
  • Chan CM, Swindell HW, Matsumoto H, Park HY, Hyman JE, Vitale MG, Roye DP Jr, Roye BD. Effect of Preoperative Indications Conference on Procedural Planning for Treatment of Scoliosis.  Spine Deform. 2016 Jan;4(1):27-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2015.05.003. Epub 2015 Dec 23.
    • The authors evaluated the effect of preoperative indications conference on the surgical plan in 107 scoliosis surgeries. Change in surgical plan occurred in 28% of index surgeries and 8% of revision surgeries. Index surgeries for AIS/JIS patients were the most likely to be influenced by preoperative indications conference.
  • Marciano G, Ball J, Matsumoto H, Roye B, Lenke L, Newton P, Vitale M; Harms Study Group. Including the stable sagittal vertebra in the fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis reduces the risk of distal junctional kyphosis in Lenke 1-3 B and C curves. Spine Deform. 2021 May;9(3):733-741. doi: 10.1007/s43390-020-00259-2. Epub 2021 Jan 5.
    • In this retrospective multicenter cohort study, the authors reviewed 856 AIS patients, 114 patients of which had discordant Coronal Last Touched Vertebra (c-LTV) and Sagittal Stable Vertebra (SSV). Among the 114 patients, patients with Lenke 1-3 with B/C Lumbar Modifier who were fused short of the SSV were 9 times more likely to develop distal junctional kyphosis.(DJK) However, those who were fused short of the SSV but did not develop DJ had better patient reported outcome measures.
  • Medrriman M, Hu C, Noyes K, Sanders J. Selection of the Lowest Level for Fusion in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis-A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Spine Deform. 2015 Mar;3(2):128-135. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2014.06.010. Epub 2015 Mar 4.
    • In this systematic review and meta-analysis to analyse the association between the lowest level of fusion to the occurrence of back pain following surgery. 8 retrospective studies were included in the analysis. Although there was a trend towards more back with fusion to L4 or L5 compared to L3 and cephalad, the association was not statistically significant. Therefore, the effect of distal level of fusion on post-oeprative low back pain is still not known.
  • Miyanji F, Newton PO, Perry A, Vanvalin S, Pawlek J. Is the lumbar modifier useful in surgical decision making?: defining two distinct Lenke 1A curve patterns. Spine Nov 33(23):2545 – 51,2008.
    • 93 patients with Lenke 1A and 1B curves and 2 year f/u were analyzed. Lenke 1A curves were subdivide into 1A-L and 1A-R depending on the tilt of L4 (1A-L, L4 tilted to left and 1A-R, L4 tilted to right). Those that had L4 tilted to the left (1A-L) behaved like Lenke 1B curves with a similar location of the stable vertebrae and a median LIV of T12.  Lenke 1A-R had more distal stable vertebrae (L3 and L4) with significant more distal median LIV of L2.  The authors propose that the A and B lumbar modifier for Lenke 1 curves does not describe distinct curve types within Lenke 1curve types and propose a subdivision of Lenke 1A curves into 1A-R and 1A-L, depending on the tilt of L4.
  • Sardar ZM, Ames RJ, Lenke L. Scheuermann's Kyphosis: Diagnosis, Management, and Selecting Fusion Levels. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2019 May 15;27(10):e462-e472. doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-17-00748.PMID: 30407981. Review article.
    • In this review article, the diagnosis, management and selection of fusion levels were discussed. Surgical indication included curved that has progressed beyond 70 degrees. There is a trend towards an all posterior approach for surgery. Upper instrumented vertebrae should include at least the upper end vertebrae but a more proximal UIV selection could reduce the risk of proximal junctional kyphosis. The authors recommended inclusion of the sagittal stable vertebrae in the fusion block to reduce the risk of distal junctional kyphosis.
  • Shao X, Sui W, Deng Y, Yang J, Chen J, Yang J. How to select the lowest instrumented vertebra in Lenke 5/6 adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients with derotation technique. Eur Spine J. 2022 Apr;31(4):996-1005. doi: 10.1007/s00586-021-07040-7. Epub 2021 Nov 6.
    • The authors reported the outcome of 53 Lenke 5/6 patients in this retrospective study. The criteria for LIV selection were most cephalad vertebra touched by CSVL, Vertebra with grade 2 or less rotation, and vertebra with lowest instrumented vertebra disc angle that can be reversed on lateral bending. Utilising this selection criteria, at minimum 2 years follow up the incidence of adding on phenomenon and coronal decompensation was 3.8% respectively.
  • Toll BJ, Gandhi SV, Amanullah A, Samdani AF, Janjua MB, Kong Q, Pahys JM, Hwang SW. Risk Factors for Proximal Junctional Kyphosis Following Surgical Deformity Correction in Pediatric Neuromuscular Scoliosis.  Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2021 Feb 1;46(3):169-174. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000003755.
    • In this single center retrospective study, 60 pediatric neuromusuclar scoliosis patients were included in the analysis. The incidence of Proximal Junctional Kyphosis (PJK) was 27% and Proximal Junctional Failure (PJF) was 7%. Risk factors for PJK included pre-operative halo-gravity traction, greater C2 sagittal translation, loss of primary curve correction and smaller pre-operative proximal kyphosis.
  • Yang J, Andras LM, Broom AM, Gonsalves NR, Barrett KK, Georgiadis AG, Flynn JM, Tolo VT, Skaggs DL. Preventing Distal Junctional Kyphosis by Applying the Stable Sagittal Vertebra Concept to Selective Thoracic Fusion in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Spine Deform. 2018 Jan;6(1):38-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2017.06.007.
    • The authors conducted a retrospective review of data obtained from two centers to analyze the importance of the Sagittal Stable Vertebra(SSV) in prevention of distal junctional  (DJK) in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) patients who underwent selective thoracic fusion (STF). Among the 113 patients, the rate of DJK was 17% (LIV cephalad to SSV) vs. 0% (LIV at SSV or distal to it). Selection of LIV at or distal to SSV would minimise risk of DJK.


  • Berry JG, Glaspy T, Eagan B, Singer S, Glader L, Emara N, Cox J, Glotzbecker M, Crofton C, Ward E, Leahy I, Salem J, Troy M, O'Neill M, Johnson C, Ferrari L. Pediatric complex care and surgery comanagement: Preparation for spinal fusion. J Child Health Care. 2020 Sep;24(3):402-410. doi: 10.1177/1367493519864741. Epub 2019 Jul 30.
    • Study looking at the impact of preoperative comanagement with complex care pediatricians (CCP) on patients with neuromuscular scoliosis undergoing spinal fusion.  The study found that those children who had involvement of the CCP team had fewer last minute coordination activities for surgical clearance, and fewer had last minute changes to preoperative plans.  Study was done at a large tertiary referral children’s hospital.
  • Flynn JM, Striano BM, Muhly WT, Kraus B, Sankar WN, Mehta V, Blum M, DeZayas B, Feldman J, Keren R.  A Dedicated Pediatric Spine Deformity Team Significantly Reduces Surgical Time and Cost. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2018 Sep 19;100(18):1574-1580. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.17.01584.PMID: 3023462.
    • Retrospective analysis comparing dedicated OR teams made up a small group of anesthesiologists, CRNA’s, OR nurses and technicians (Dedicated Team) with PSF without dedicated teams in a large hospital setting.  Cases were categorized as I (<12 levels fused, no osteotomies, and a BMI < 25 kg/m2, or II (>= 12 levels fused and or >= 1 osteotomy and/or a BMI >= 25 kg/m2 .  Standardized protocols were developed and implemented.  Neuromuscular and more complex cases were excluded from analysis.  There was almost a 1-2 hour improvement in OR time, and a cost savings in cases where dedicated teams were used.
  • Miyanji F, Greer B, Desai S, Choi J, Mok J, Nitikman M, Morrison A.  Improving quality and safety in paediatric spinal surgery: the team approach. Bone Joint J. 2018 Apr 1;100-B(4):493-498. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.100B4.BJJ-2017-1202.R1.
    • A retrospective consecutive case control study of spine surgeries lasting > 120 minutes of one surgeon before and after the implementation of a paediatric spinal surgical team (PSST) made up of a homogenous group of OR nurses, anesthitists, and IONM technician.  There were significant improvements in operating room time, length of stay, blood loss, and allogenic blood transfusion in the group with a PSST.   Complications were also higher in the pre PSST group compared to those patients with the PSST. There was a 2.4 times increased risk of surgical site infection in the pre PSST group. Of note surgeon experience (which was greater in the PSST group) may have had a confounding effect on the results.


Neurologic Injury Prevention

Perioperative Blood Management

Infection Prevention

  • Michael G Vitale, Matthew D Riedel, Michael P Glotzbecker, Hiroko Matsumoto, David P Roye, Behrooz A Akbarnia, Richard C E Anderson, Douglas L Brockmeyer, John B Emans, Mark Erickson, John M Flynn, Lawrence G Lenke, Stephen J Lewis, Scott J Luhmann, Lisa M McLeod, Peter O Newton, Ann-Christine Nyquist, B Stephens Richards 3rd, Suken A Shah, David L Skaggs, John T Smith, Paul D Sponseller, Daniel J Sucato, Reinhard D Zeller, Lisa Saiman. Building consensus: development of a Best Practice Guideline (BPG) for surgical site infection (SSI) prevention in high-risk pediatric spine surgery. J Pediatr Orthop. 2013 Jul-Aug;33(5):471-8. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e3182840de2.
    • A 14-statement consensus reached through a Delphi method regarding best practices for prevention of SSI in high-risk pediatric patients. It addresses pre-op, intraop and post-operative practices.
  • Michael P Glotzbecker, Tricia A St Hilaire, Jeff B Pawelek, George H Thompson, Michael G Vitale, Children’s Spine Study Group; Growing Spine Study Group. Best Practice Guidelines for Surgical Site Infection Prevention With Surgical Treatment of Early Onset Scoliosis. J Pediatr Orthop. 2019 Sep;39(8):e602-e607. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000001079.
    • A 22-statement consensus reached through a Delphi method regarding best practices for prevention of SSI in EOS. It addresses pre-op, intraop and post-operative practices.
  • Matsumoto H, Campbell M, Minkara A, Roye DP, Garg S, Johnston C, Samdani A, Smith J, Sponseller P, Sturm PF, Vitale M; Children’s Spine Study Group; Growing Spine Study Group. Paper #45: Development of a Risk Severity Score (RSS) Predicting Surgical Site Infection in Early Onset Scoliosis: Identifying High-Risk Patients. Spine Deform. 2017 Nov;5(6):464-465. Spine Deform. 2017 Nov;5(6):464-465. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2017.09.048.PMID: 31997165
    • Retrospective study assessing Risk Severity score that allows to predict SSI risk in patients with EOS. The presence of myelomeningocele, GI, endocrine, and pulmonary comorbidities, developmental delay, urinary incontinence, and ventriculoperitoneal shunt increase the risk of infection to 68.4% while the absence of these comorbidities lowers the risk to 3.3%.
  • Luhmann SJ, Smith JC. Preoperative MRSA Screening in Pediatric Spine Surgery: A Helpful Tool or a Waste of Time and Money? Spine Deform. 2016 Jul;4(4):272-276. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2015.12.006. Epub 2016 Jun 16.
    • In 6.5% of the cases, the use of nasal swab as a method for screening the presence of MRSA changed the preoperative antibyotic regime due to the presnece of resistance (4.7% MRSA and 1.8% MSSA).
  • Mistovich RJ, Jacobs LJ, Campbell RM, Spiegel DA, Flynn JM, Baldwin KD. Infection Control in Pediatric Spinal Deformity Surgery: A Systematic and Critical Analysis Review. KD. JBJS Rev. 2017 May;5(5):e3. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.RVW.16.00071.
    • Systematic review on the risk of SSI in pediatric population: There is insufficient evidence to recommend either topical gentamycin or vancomycin, the use of irrigation (and other surgical preparation solutions), a specific type of dressing (including incisional vacuum and the participation of two attendings. There is grade B recommendation for any type of closure methods, in favor of titanium (instead of stainless steel), against the use of drains, the increased risk with the use of pelvic fixation (no difference with S2A1 screws), intraop hypothermia does not increase the risk of SSI and that length of surgery doesn’t impact SSI rates. There is grade C recommendation in favor of the use of iv atb, mixed evidence regarding allografts, mixed reviews regarding obesity, incontinence and malnutrition as modifiable factors.

Navigation and Enabling Technology


Optimizing Length of Stay in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Surgery

  • Fletcher ND, Glotzbecker MP, Marks M, Newton PO,Harms Study Group. Development of Consensus-Based Best Practice Guidelines for Postoperative Care Following Posterior Spinal Fusion for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis.  Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2017 May 1;42(9): E547-E554. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000001865.PMID: 28441684 
    • An expert panel of 26 pediatric spine surgeons opined upon a detailed literature review and consensus was sought using the Delphi process. Consensus (agreement > 80%) was reached to support 19 best practice guideline (BPG) measures for postoperative care supporting non-ICU admission, perioperative pain control (supporting PCA pump, gabapentin, antispasmodics and ketorolac use; limiting epidural, early transition to oral narcotics), dietary management (supporting early clear liquids, chewing gum, bowel regimen and antiemetics), physical therapy (sitting, standing and twice daily PT POD#1), limiting postoperative radiographs, and indications for discharge (pain tolerated with oral analgesic, tolerating regular diet, bowel movement unnecessary, meeting PT goals).
  • Fletcher ND, Murphy JS, Austin TM, Bruce RW Jr, Harris H, Bush P, Yu A, Kusumoto H, Schmitz ML, Devito DP, Fabregas JA, Miyanji F. Short term outcomes of an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathway versus a traditional discharge pathway after posterior spinal fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.  Spine Deform. 2021 Jul; 9(4): 1013-1019. doi: 10.1007/s43390-020-00282-3. Epub 2021 Jan 18.PMID: 33460022
    • A prospective dual-center study of patients treated using an ERAS pathway (203 patients) or a traditional discharge (TD) pathway (73 patients) was performed with focus on pain at discharge, quality of life at one month, and return to school/work. LOS was 55% less in the ERAS group (4.8 days TD vs. 2.2 days ERAS, p < 0.001). Regression analysis showed no difference in Visual Analog Score (VAS) score at discharge or quality of recovery using the QOR9 instrument between groups at follow up. There was no difference in return to school and parents' return to work between the groups.
  • Muhly WT, Sankar WN, Ryan K, Norton A, Maxwell LG, DiMaggio T, Farrell S, Hughes R, Gornitzky A, Keren R, McCloskey JJ, Flynn JM. Rapid Recovery Pathway After Spinal Fusion for Idiopathic Scoliosis. Pediatrics. 2016 Apr; 137(4): e20151568. doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1568. Epub 2016 Mar 23. PMID: 27009035
    • A quality improvement initiative was undertaken to assess a standardized rapid recovery pathway (RRP). Functional recovery was assessed using LOS and average daily pain scores. Process measures were medication adherence and order set utilization, balancing measure was 30-day readmission rate. Baseline average LOS was 5.7 days and decreased to 4 days after RRP implementation. Average daily pain scores remained stable with improvement on postoperative day 0 (3.8 vs 4.9 days) and 1 (3.8 vs 5 days) after RRP implementation. Gabapentin (91%) and ketorolac (95%) use became routine and order set utilization was 100%. Readmission rates did not increase as a result of the RRP.
  • Yang J, Skaggs DL, Chan P, Villamor GA, Choi PD, Tolo VT, Kissinger C, Lehman A, Andras LM. High Satisfaction in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Patients on Enhanced Discharge Pathway. J Pediatr Orthop. 2020 Mar;40(3): E166-170. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000001436.PMID: 31403990
    • 46 prospectively enrolled patients were evaluated with a survey at their first postoperative clinic visit for satisfaction with an enhanced discharge pathway for PSF and whether they felt that their length of stay was appropriate. 80% of patients felt that they were discharged at an appropriate time (mean, 3.2 d) and had a trend toward shorter stays, whereas 20% felt they were discharged too early (mean, 3.7 d). Overall patient satisfaction of hospital stay was high with a mean of 9 on a 10-point scale (range, 1 to 10). There was no correlation between length of stay and patient satisfaction.

Optimizing Length of Stay in Neuromuscular Scoliosis Surgery

  • Bellaire L., Bruce Jr R., Ward L., Bowman C., Fletcher N. Use of an Accelerated Discharge Pathway in Patients With Severe Cerebral Palsy Undergoing Posterior Spinal Fusion for Neuromuscular Scoliosis. Spine Deform. 2019 Sep; 7(5): 804-811. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2019.02.002. PMID: 31495482 
    • 74 patients with GMFCS class 4/5 CP undergoing PSF were reviewed. Thirty consecutive patients were cared for using a traditional discharge (TD) pathway, and 44 patients were subsequently treated using an accelerated discharge (AD) pathway. LOS was 19% shorter in patients managed with the AD pathway (AD 4.0 days vs. TD 4.9 days). There was no difference between groups with respect to age at surgery, GMFCS class, preoperative curve magnitude, pelvic obliquity, kyphosis, postoperative curve correction, fusion to the pelvis, or length of fusion between groups. LOS remained significantly shorter in the AD group by 0.9 days when controlling for EBL and length of surgery. There was no significant difference in wound complications, return to the operating room, or medical readmissions between groups.
  • Fletcher ND, Bellaire LL, Dilbone ES, Ward LA, Bruce RW Jr. Variability in length of stay following neuromuscular spinal fusion. Spine Deform. 2020 Aug; 8(4): 725-732. doi: 10.1007/s43390-020-00081-w. Epub 2020 Feb 14.PMID: 32060807
    • 197 patients with NMS underwent PSF at a single hospital by two surgeons with a post-operative care pathway emphasizing early mobilization, rapid transition to enteral feeds, and discharge prior to first bowel movement. Severely involved cerebral palsy (CP) patients (GMFCS 4/5) were more likely to have extended stays than GMFCS 1-3 patients. Radiographic predictors included major coronal Cobb angle and pelvic obliquity. Intraoperative predictors included longer surgical times, greater numbers of levels fused and need for intraoperative or postoperative blood transfusion. The need for ICU admission and development of a pulmonary complication were significantly more likely to extend hospital stay.
  • Shaw KA, Heboyan V, Fletcher ND, Murphy JS. Comparative cost-utility analysis of postoperative discharge pathways following posterior spinal fusion for scoliosis in non-ambulatory cerebral palsy patients. Spine Deform. 2021 Nov; 9(6): 1659-1667. doi: 10.1007/s43390-021-00362-y. Epub 2021 May 18.PMID: 34008146
    • An economic decision-analysis model was constructed using a hypothetical 15-year-old male with non-ambulatory CP undergoing PSF. Literature was reviewed to estimate costs, probabilities, and QALYs (age-matched US values, with a CP diagnosis corrective value applied) for identified complication profiles for discharge pathways, and probabilistic sensitivity analysis was performed. Accelerated discharge (AD) pathway resulted in an average cost and effectiveness of $67,069 and 15.4 QALYs compared with $81,312 and 15.4 QALYs for traditional discharge (TD). AD resulted in a 2.1% greater net monetary benefit with a cost-effectiveness ratio of $4361/QALY compared with $5290/QALY in the TD.
  • Simpson BE, Kara S, Wilson A, Wolf D, Bailey K, MacBriar J, Mayes T, Russell J, Chundi P, Sturm P. Reducing Patient Length of Stay After Surgical Correction for Neuromuscular Scoliosis. Hosp Pediatr. 2022 Feb 17: e2021006196. doi: 10.1542/hpeds.2021-006196. Online ahead of print.PMID: 35174385
    • Quality improvement methodology was used to implement a standardized clinical care pathway for NMS patients during their primary spinal surgery. The outcome measure was LOS, and the process measure was percentage compliance with the pathway. Mean LOS decreased from 8.0 to 5.3 days; a statistically significant change based on statistical process control chart rules. Percentage compliance with the NMS pathway improved during the testing and sustain phases, compared with the pretesting phase. LOS variability decreased from pretesting to the combined testing and sustain phases.

Narcotic/pain management


Adding-on Phenomenon in Scoliosis Surgery

Distal Junctional Kyphosis

Proximal Junctional Kyphosis

  • Alzakri A, Vergari C, Van den Abbeele M, Gille O, Skalli W, Obeid I. Global Sagittal Alignment and Proximal Junctional Kyphosis in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis. Spine Deform. 2019 Mar;7(2):236-244. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2018.06.014. PMID: 30660217.
    • Case control study 85 patients.  Evaluation of global sagittal alignment including the cranial center of mass (CCOM) and proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) patients treated with posterior instrumentation.13% incidence of PJK- thought to be a compensatory mechanism, which allows for CCOM-HA( cranial center of mass  ) and, to a lesser extent, OD-HA ( dentiform apophysis of C2)to be invariant.
  • Erkilinc M, Baldwin KD, Pasha S, Mistovich RJ. Proximal junctional kyphosis in pediatric spinal deformity surgery: a systematic review and critical analysis. Spine Deform. 2022 Mar;10(2):257-266. doi: 10.1007/s43390-021-00429-w. Epub 2021 Oct 27. PMID: 34704232.
    • 635 papers:
    • There were 4 findings found to contribute to PJK with Grade B evidence in EOS: higher number of distractions, disruption of posterior elements, greater sagittal plane correction.  
    • Five findings with Grade B evidence were found to contribute to PJK in AIS populations: higher pre-operative thoracic kyphosis, higher pre-operative lumbar lordosis, longer fusion constructs, greater sagittal plane correction, and posterior versus anterior fusion constructs.  
  • Ferrero E, Bocahut N, Lefevre Y, Roussouly P, Pesenti S, Lakhal W, Odent T, Morin C, Clement JL, Compagnon R, de Gauzy JS, Jouve JL, Mazda K, Abelin-Genevois K, Ilharreborde B; Groupe d’Etude sur la Scoliose (GES). Proximal junctional kyphosis in thoracic adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: risk factors and compensatory mechanisms in a multicenter national cohort. Eur Spine J. 2018 Sep;27(9):2241-2250. doi: 10.1007/s00586-018-5640-y. Epub 2018 Jun 29. PMID: 29959554.
    • Cohort of 365 AIS patients – 2 year f/u: Conclusion PJK is a frequent complication in thoracic AIS, occurring 16%, but remains often asymptomatic (less than 3% of revisions in the entire cohort). An interesting finding is that patients with high pelvic incidence and consequently large LL and TK were more at risk of PJK.
  • Lonner BS, Ren Y, Newton PO, Shah SA, Samdani AF, Shufflebarger HL, Asghar J, Sponseller P, Betz RR, Yaszay B. Risk Factors of Proximal Junctional Kyphosis in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis-The Pelvis and Other Considerations. Spine Deform. 2017 May;5(3):181-188. doi: 10.1016/j.jspd.2016.10.003. PMID: 28449961.
    • Muticenter study, 851 AIS patients:to assess the incidence of PJK. The incidence of PJK in patients after surgery for AIS is 7.05% and varies based on Lenke type. Loss of kyphosis, larger preoperative kyphosis, UIV caudal to the proximal UEV (Lenke 1), UIV at or cephalad to the UEV (Lenke 5), and decreased RCA were the major risk factors for PJK in AIS.
  • Zhong J, Cao K, Wang B, Li H, Zhou X, Xu X, Lin N, Liu Q, Lu H. Incidence and Risk Factors for Proximal Junctional Kyphosis in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis After Correction Surgery: A Meta-Analysis. World Neurosurg. 2019 May; 125: e326-e335. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2019.01.072. Epub 2019 Jan 26. PMID: 30690145.
    • Meta- Analysis, 7 studies : The incidence of PJK in patients with AIS was 14%. Proximal implants with screws and instrumentation types with all screws were significantly associated with increased occurrence of PJK. Larger preoperative TK, larger preoperative LL, larger postoperative LL, greater TK change, and greater LL change were also identified as risk factors for PJK in AIS after correction surgery.


Non-Operative versus Operative Treatment

Radiographic Analysis and Classification of Deformity

Team Based Approaches

Value (Econ)

Pre-operative surgical optimization and modifiable risk factors


  • Buchlak QD, Yanamadala V, Leveque J-C, Sethi R. Complication avoidance with pre-operative screening: insights from the Seattle spine team. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2016;9(3):316-326. doi:10.1007/s12178-016-9351-x
    • Standardized preoperative evaluation protocols have been shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of a spectrum of negative outcomes associated with complex adult lumbar scoliosis surgery
    • To increase patient safety and reduce complication risk, an entire medical and surgical team should work together to care for adult lumbar scoliosis patients
    • An evidence-based comprehensive systematic preoperative surgical evaluation process is described


  • Schwab F, Dubey A, Gamez L, et al. Adult scoliosis: prevalence, SF-36, and nutritional parameters in an elderly volunteer population. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2005;30(9):1082-1085. doi:10.1097/01.brs.0000160842.43482.cd
    • No association between nutrition and development of spinal deformity has been demonstrated
  • Adogwa O, Martin JR, Huang K, et al. Preoperative serum albumin level as a predictor of postoperative complication after spine fusion. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2014;39(18):1513-1519. doi:10.1097/BRS.0000000000000450
    • Preoperative hypoalbuminemia is an independent risk factor for postoperative complications, 30-day mortality, and increased length of hospital stay after spine surgery for degenerative and deformity causes
    • Should be used more frequently as a prognostic tool to detect malnutrition and risk of adverse surgical outcomes
  • Stoker GE, Buchowski JM, Bridwell KH, Lenke LG, Riew KD, Zebala LP. Preoperative vitamin D status of adults undergoing surgical spinal fusion. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013;38(6):507-515. doi:10.1097/BRS.0b013e3182739ad1
    • Vitamin D plays a critical role in establishing optimal bone health, which, in turn, is vital to the success of spinal arthrodesis
    • There is a substantially high prevalence of vitamin D abnormality in the overall population.
    • Although advanced age is a well-established risk factor for hypovitaminosis, young adults undergoing fusion should not be overlooked with regard to vitamin D screening; this age bracket is less likely to have been previously supplemented




High Risk Patients


Intraoperative Checklists

Team based approaches in the operating room

Intraoperative Neuromonitoring

  • Pelosi L, Lamb J, Grevitt M, Mehdian SMH, Webb JK, Blumhardt LD. Combined monitoring of motor and somatosensory evoked potentials in orthopaedic spinal surgery. Clin Neurophysiol. 2002;113(7):1082-1091. doi:10.1016/s1388-2457(02)00027-5
    • Combined SEPs and multi-pulse TES-MEPs is highly recommended because it provides a safe, reliable and sensitive method of monitoring spinal cord function in spine surgery and has been shown to be superior to single modality techniques.

Minimally Invasive versus Open Procedures

Pedicle Subtraction Osteotomy (PSO)

Intraoperative Complications

Dural Tears

  • Iyer S, Klineberg EO, Zebala LP, et al. Dural Tears in Adult Deformity Surgery: Incidence, Risk Factors, and Outcomes. Glob spine J. 2018;8(1):25-31. doi:10.1177/2192568217717973
    • Adult spinal deformity surgery has a 3-10% rate of dural tears in with decompressive techniques being the largest risk factor.
    • Patients who suffer an intraoperative durotomy are more likely to have a post-operative complication, but 6-week and 2-year functional health scores are similar to those that don’t suffer an incidental dural tear.

Hemorrhagic Blood Loss

  • Yu X, Xiao H, Wang R, Huang Y. Prediction of massive blood loss in scoliosis surgery from preoperative variables. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013;38(4):350-355. doi:10.1097/BRS.0b013e31826c63cb
    • Adult spinal deformity surgery is associated with severe intraoperative blood loss. Risk factors for massive blood loss include preoperative Cobb angle larger than 50º,  planned osteotomy, or fusion of more than 6 levels.
  • Elgafy H, Bransford RJ, McGuire RA, Dettori JR, Fischer D. Blood loss in major spine surgery: are there effective measures to decrease massive hemorrhage in major spine fusion surgery? Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010;35(9 Suppl):S47-56.
    • Based on the current literature, there is little support for routine use of CS during elective spinal surgery.
    • With respect to the antifibrinolytics of the lysine analog class (tranexamic acid and aminocaproic acid), based on the available efficacy and safety data, we recommend that they be considered as possible agents to help reduce major hemorrhage in adult spine surgery. Concerns related to the use of aprotinin were such that we recommended against its use in spine surgery on the basis of the reports of increased complications. 51,57


Rapid Recovery Protocol

Pain control

Post-operative Complications

Neurologic Complications


  • Simchen E, Stein H, Sacks TG, Shapiro M, Michel J. Multivariate analysis of determinants of postoperative wound infection in orthopaedic patients. J Hosp Infect. 1984;5(2):137-146. doi:10.1016/0195-6701(84)90117-8
    • Diabetes, prolonged operative times (>3 hours), body mass index more than 35, posterior approach, smoking, and number of intervertebral levels (≥7) are associated with an increased risk of SSI after spinal surgery.
  • Anderson PA, Savage JW, Vaccaro AR, et al. Prevention of Surgical Site Infection in Spine Surgery. Neurosurgery. 2017;80(3S):S114-S123. doi:10.1093/neuros/nyw066
    • Screening for nasal carriage of methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) and MRSA 5-days prior to surgery with subsequent eradication treatment has been shown to reduce rate of infection in several surgical procedures.

Mechanical failure and Pseudarthrosis

Vision Loss

  • Baig MN, Lubow M, Immesoete P, Bergese SD, Hamdy E-A, Mendel E. Vision loss after spine surgery: review of the literature and recommendations. Neurosurg Focus. 2007;23(5):E15. doi:10.3171/FOC-07/11/15
    • Estimates for the incidence of post-operative vision loss after spinal surgery between 0.028 and 0.2%.
    • The most common diagnosis in patients in whom perioperative visual deficits develop after spine surgery is Ischemic Optic Neuropathy.
    • Perioperative factors that have been implicated in the development of ischemic optic neuropathy include intraoperative hypotension, duration of surgery, intraoperative blood loss, use of replacement fluids, and anemia.
    • Post-operative flat positioning should be avoided except in cases of hypotension.

Spinal Deformity Surgery Team Checklist

The Spinal Deformity Surgery Team Checklist is a suggested list of items for centers performing spinal deformity surgery to support ongoing efforts to improve safety. The material is intended to present a suggested approach that may be helpful to centers performing spinal deformity surgery. Download the checklist.

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SRS Statements and Practice Parameters

SRS statements and practice parameters assist healthcare professionals by providing information on clinical and scientific advances. These documents reflect the most current guidance available from the SRS on clinical topics related to spine deformity.

SRS statements are not to be construed as dictating an exclusive course of action; nor are they intended to replace the medical judgment of healthcare professionals. The unique circumstances of individual patients and environments are to be taken into account in any diagnosis and treatment plan. SRS statements reflect clinical and scientific advances as of the date of their publication and are subject to change.